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Ōhura is a village that has few services based there, and little ability to connect in social settings apart from the “Cossie” club, which was seen as a key place in the community for people to connect.

“I think if it wasn’t for the Club it would be a lot more difficult. It’s pumping these days isn’t it?”

Even so, the township was considered a busy, social place, and a place where you could see people you knew as you went about your day-to-day business.

“There’s the walkers as well, they’ve got a good lap. They might overlap and have a chat on a corner. Everyone sort of does the rounds, we do this lap, Hazel does that lap, granny does that lap so you sort of see people all the time, it’s very busy. It’s a very busy little place, people do get out. There’s a lot of mixing, social wise. Social-wise it’s a very busy town actually.”

“There must be 50 committees in this town. There’s still the Ōhura show which is a lot of work for two days, the museum, the Cossie, the bowling club, this hall, the school, the business round table…”

With a lack of playgroups or opportunities for parents to connect, participants felt that mothers with young children were socially isolated, as were the children under five.

“They seem to get into town once a week but it’s not enough.”

Residents of Ōhura are very keen to develop and promote their area. There are mixed feelings however as to whether other organisations see the potential that locals do and are willing to support. Dealing with bureaucracy was seen as a barrier to taking Ōhura forward.

“I still wonder if the Council still see Ōhura as a liability.”

“I think that there probably is an element that see it that way. But look how much was spent on this hall recently? And we’ve got new toilets.”

“Yes, there’s been money spent on roading.”

“The biggest thing holding back this town from growing is red tape. Council red tape. If people were allowed to do these things creatively we could have red tape that was sensible – yes we want to have septic tanks that work so people don’t get sick and that sort of thing but the cost, the compliance… ….Why don’t Councils have a culture of encouraging the town to go ahead? To be creative in our thinking?”

There might be ‘pockets’ of social dysfunction in Ōhura but generally:

Ōhura’s the best it’s ever been, in as far as crime. I think there’s not the bad element there used to be here and it’s also the calibre of people coming in. People with bad behaviours are actually being held to account for them. So the community has been quite vocal, like if you see hoons you tell them, ‘Don’t do that down our main street, you take that out of town!’ or whatever. People are self-policing.”

“It’s still a safe community to have your back door unlocked. Try and do that in Auckland”!

“The police do come out. They’re good actually. And usually a lot of our trouble will come from outsiders.”

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